Written and submitted by Northern Lights Community School YES! Team.
This blog post was written by the Northern Lights Community School YES! team. This team is preparing to host a Climate Convening in May as one of their projects for the year. As part of the convening, stories are shared about how we see climate change in our daily lives. Here are a few of the stories witnessed by team members.
From Northern Lights Community School’s perspective, climate change is real, and we better not get caught sitting around doing nothing. It is very important that all of us appreciate the impact and value our own actions have in order to make a meaningful change as a whole. If we all just did a little something, our impact would be immense. If we adopted little things such as; driving less, carpooling, hanging our clothing out on the line in the summertime to use less energy, shutting off the faucet and using less water, changing light bulbs, or turning the heat down when you are not at home are all ways we can conserve energy. It is important for us to look at the impact we have within our own family values because our actions are what makes this change doable and more meaningful.
As a cabin owner, the change I have seen in the climate over the last five years is very concerning to me because the water temperatures have risen causing the growth of weeds to almost triple. The water levels have decreased drastically, and the fish have had to move to deeper waters moving them away from the structures and shorelines. With a nickname of “Fishbait,” I am very concerned for the lakes sustainability in years to come. (Donna Hanson-Kaasa, Teacher/Advisor)
Our family’s favorite activity during the summer is when we meet our uncle at his house on Rainy River and then ride out to Pine Island on Lake of the Woods with his pontoon. Sometimes we’d stop on the way and jump out to swim in the lake…I remember being little and exploring the island. The pine trees on the island had been named long before I was even born, but my cousin and I decided to rename it, “Froggie Island” for the thousands of frogs that found their home there. That was creative for a six-year-old I suppose. It seemed you couldn’t look at a square foot without finding three or four little frogs hopping around. We’d spend hours catching them and digging holes to keep them. Our parents would always have to remind us to release them before we left.
We always went to the same spot, but one day we decided we wanted to see more of the island. We walked along the edge of the shoreline and after moving a little inland we came across this gorgeous pond. The water was clearer than it was in the lake, there were pine trees dead and down surrounding the edge. Snakes, frogs, and rodents were all around. I was so excited to have found my new secret spot, that had remained untouched from all the visitors.
I visit the island every summer, and the changes were all small, until it was all at once. Right now, the first thing you notice is the smell. Dead fish wash up and rot, the island is covered in flies that eat the carcasses. You’d be lucky to find a single frog, and the constant chorus of their croaking has silenced. Algae has bloomed among the shore making the water un-swimmable which is extremely sad now that I am a teenager.
There’s also the matter of the pond. If I’m being honest, I don’t know how it’s doing. That’s because the only path over there is long gone. It seems the island is shrinking, or maybe it’s just dying. (Katie Dorry, Student)
As a junior at NLCS, I have a love for avocados, a deep passion actually, and I remember when my Grandma and I used to eat avocado toast as a treat for my good behavior. It was the buttery indulgence that I always enjoyed. Recently, this is a treat that hasn’t been around because it is too expensive. The droughts in California have made growing them nearly impossible, as they have torn up thousands of avocado trees which in turn makes them more expensive here. (Jasmine Forbord/student)